This study investigated the effects of induced mental fatigue on the performance of Australian football (AF) specific skills amongst amateur AF players.
Randomised cross over trial.
Twenty-five amateur AF players performed a series of standardised tests from the Australian Football League (AFL) Draft Combine after completing a 30-min Stroop test (mental fatigue condition) or 30-min control condition. The AFL Draft Combine tests included the standing vertical jump test, running vertical jump test, agility test, 20m sprint, Matthew Lloyd clean hands test, Brad Johnson goal kicking test and a Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Level 1 (Yo-Yo IR1) test.
The Stroop test score decreased during the Stroop test (first five trials: mean=84.7, SD=3.5; last five trials: mean=82.2, SD=5.0, p=0.03). The Yo-Yo IR1 test (mental fatigue: median=920m, IQR=400; control: median=1040m, IQR=760; p=0.03) and Brad Johnson goalkicking test (mental fatigue: median=19.0, IQR=5.0; control: median=25.0, IQR=10.0, p=0.048) were negatively affected by mental fatigue. No other Draft Combine tests demonstrated a negative affect from mental fatigue.
Mental fatigue had a detrimental influence on the performance of AF specific skills. The findings may have implications for AF players who are required to sustain attention and concentration for prolonged periods before and during matches.